This Asheville North Carolina innkeeper has a long history of tea drinking. When I was a young girl coming up I was blessed with my Nana's firm and blessed presence in my life and that long and convoluted path lead me to Stash Tea, bed & breakfasts and the joys of a good Cuppa!
I firmly believe that there are those of the population who are not either-or folks. There appears to be a theory that one is either a tea drinker or a coffee aficionado and never the twain shall meet. Thanks largely to my Nana and connotation she developed in my life for the occasions of tea.... I happily enjoy both of those caffienated treats but they both are approached at entirely different times during the day and the atmosphere surrounding them is entirely different. .
Inn keeping is not a profession for those disdaining morning. If your biological engine simply will not commence in the early day...do not leave your current position for the life of an innkeeper. Just because a person "can do" mornings would not be to say that they cannot benefit from a bit of pharmacological assistance in the form of the stimulant and my old friend-CAFFEINE. I accommodate guest requests for DE-CAF though to tell you I have a personal concept of this request would be untruthful. Hello, one drinks coffee to get in gear so the whole idea of De-caf entirely eludes me. I begin every morning with at least two cups of this entirely heavenly substance. Those of you who are "coffee hounds" know exactly what I am talking about when I make reference to "heavenly substance." It is celestial, and of the God's...Further, it does the job.
Now, re: TEA. Tea, in my world has an entirely different connotation. As a girl when I would be troubled, annoyed at my Mom, feeling ill at sorts with the world or in need of some sympathy or companionship, I could always count on my Nana. She would apprise my general outlook on whatever "ailment of the day" had ruffled my feathers and she would sooth them just like silk with the magic of a "cuppa."
My Nana would make a celebration of tea. Further, as I was very young and knew elder folks drank tea, I immediately equated this custom with importance, being older, being considered and valued and that tea was an "occasion" during which we would discuss the day, my childhood grief of the moment or my angst regarding whatever subject was the fodder of today's crisis.
She would begin at the stove with a special enamel pot, she readied the tea pot with a nice rinsing, removed the special "tea cups" from up on high where they lived to preserve their lives in a house inhabited by my brother and me. It began with always being careful to get the water as hot as possible until the little bubbles were forming on the bottom of that red enamel pot but absolutely- not boiling. The tea, loose of course, would then be placed in the waiting tea pot, the specially prepared water poured into it, the lid rested on top in it's proper place sealing up the magic. Then, the waiting began (10 mins) during which time we were under no circumstances to disturb the lid from our tea pot.
I was not to be idle while the "waiting period" ticked by so Nana would then assign the table prep to me. The place mats were shaken out and placed on the small breakfast table, the tea spoons were in place, the napkins folded and ready for the feast, the sugar, and milk were placed in readiness and by now the mystical ten minutes had almost come to an end.
We sat down together, my Nana and her granddaughter and looking at me intently she would say, "Tell me everything." I did just that and "in the time of tea" we covered every topic in my life, she shared her stories of "the old days" about her life as a young girl and woman and in that time we learned each others hearts, lives and stories. We chatted about things of vital importance and things wonderfully ordinary. We never completed tea time that I did not rise to my feet completely sure of so many things. I was sure I had the most wonderful Nana in the entire world and that her insight, wisdom and intelligence was one of the highest gifts of my life. I felt sorry for those not having her. I was also sure that no one invested this kind of time in someone who could not solve her own problems and move beyond any perceived obstacles she was having no matter how large they seemed before the "time of tea" began. I was confident in her confidence in me.
The next bit of this story is about how Stash, the tea I use here at the inn can help you enjoy Asheville travel in the form of a free night's stay with the purchase of a night (mid week in the winter) when "tea drinking" can become the stuff of which legends are made. Stay tuned!
Patti and Gary Wiles, Innkeepers